No Need for the Dentist Anymore
by Dr. Michel Champagne, BA, DMD, MAGD, IBO, CDE
We all have seen it recently, orthodontics is entering the Uber world with the Smile Direct Club now in Canada and the USA to challenge us for the treatment of malocclusions in permanent dentition.
I do not believe that any legal pressure, like the pressure put on Uber, will change anything. The Smile Direct Club and his little cousins are coming and are here to stay. Will the business structure make enough money to satisfy the shareholders, that is another question. The world of optometry lived a similar situation a few years back with clients going directly to the distributors to buy their lenses. The difference is that these patients saw an optometrist for their exam before and then decided to buy direct hoping they get a better price and a decent service. This is not what is happening with the Smile Direct Club with the patient not seing a dentist.
What will be the impact for the GP providing orthodontic care who has proper training, more than just the short courses, company sponsored, very popular on the market today. For the time being, the Invisalign or equivalent techniques do not affect our interceptive practices on young patients. Also a number of orthodontist specialists do not have great interest in treating young patients in the mixed dentition, preferring to delay until the permanent dentition has arrived. Will the Smile Direct Club affect them more, we will have to wait and see. One thing for sure, the market is changing and we cannot change this revolution.
If you think about it , we have a privaledged position in the world of interception during the mixed dentition. We, the general dentists, well trained in orthodontics stand alone or almost to treat myofunctional, breathing, and all the dentofacial orthopaedic problems, enough to keep our practices very occupied if we have the right training and if we keep up to date. If you do only Invisalign treatment, you may be in a worse position. The solution, get involved in interceptive orthodontics and get training from the best.